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The following material contains graphic images of an actual surgery that may be disturbing. Parents are advised that these images may not be suitable for young children.
Cailin joins The Doctors to share her story of how a pimple-like lesion on her nose turned out to be skin cancer. Cailin says the spot would start bleeding, scab, and then go away. But when it came back, her gut told her she should get it checked out.
Cailin had her dermatologist do a biopsy. He called with the scary news that Cailin had cancer. Cailin had an infiltrative basal cell carcinoma, which dermatologist Dr. Sonia Batra says is the most common type of skin cancer in the U.S. Cailin went back to have her dermatologist perform Mohs surgery to treat the cancer. She assumed they would remove the basal cell carcinoma and it would be a quick fix. But it wasn’t. It got to the point where the dermatologist told Cailin it was worse than he had imagined and he referred her to a plastic surgeon.
Dr. Kian Karimi who took on Cailin's case told The Doctors, “Nasal reconstruction is always very challenging but this is the most complex case I’ve ever encountered.” For weeks Cailin was in and out of Dr. Karimi's office getting layer by layer of her nose and face cut out to remove the cancer, and then, to repair her nose. Cailin says “the first time I saw my face, I took off the bandage and almost passed out.”
Cailin today, a skin cancer survivor, is at her best. She says going through this experience taught her that she is strong, resilient, and brave.
The Doctors stress that skin cancer can develop on anybody. Dr. Batra says that many people tend to dismiss skin cancer and delay its diagnosis. She says that many people are familiar with the ABCDs (asymmetry, borders, colors, diameter) characteristics to look out for but the type Cailin had, basal cell carcinoma, is actually much more common. If you see one of these three things, consult your dermatologist:
- A sore or pimple that doesn’t heal, that may be there for a month or more
- Something that continues to scale
- Something that continues to grow insidiously and never quite resolves
Dr. Batra tells her patients, “Anything pearly or pink that has been there for more than a month should be evaluated.” OB/GYN Dr. Nita Landry points out that it’s important to pay attention to these sores or pimples all over the body, including the genital regions.